It’s amazing how spoiled we get when a decision about dinner involves only one person- do I get take out? Try a new dish? A Lean Cuisine? Just eggs? A PB& J? Now that there are two of us, Tracy and I actually sit down at some point every day and have one of those "I don't care, what do you want" conversations about dinner. Sometimes we end up trying some of the recipes in my “save to try” file which is fun and ambitious of us. And I have introduced her to some of my recent recipe discoveries and inventions that I think she might like.... I love getting her opinion. We seem to be spending a great deal of time (and money) poking around various grocery stores and our heads are swimming with ideas gleaned from friends, cookbooks or my old files.
I have discovered that trying out new recipes for my blog is way different than being pinned down to plan a complete meal every single night- something I haven’t had to do since the kids grew up and moved out. The exception being holidays, when everyone’s here and demanding an organized meal of some kind three times a day.
Now back to all those decisions.... luckily we don’t plan breakfasts as we don’t eat at the same time; I am an earlier riser than Tracy and anyway, we don’t like the same things. I am happy with an Ultra Meal vanilla shake with strawberries (greatly encouraged by my nutritionist) or grapefruit and an egg white omelet. Tracy likes granola, fruit and yogurt. Plain and simple. And the occasional croissant- a result of living in Paris for 6 years in the 90’s.
Shortly after her arrival Tracy asked if I had a good granola recipe. Well I do, even though I don’t like granola and never eat it. No accounting for tastes, I know. I have made it often for company or morning coffee/meetings and everyone raves about it. I’ve never even tasted my own granola, do you believe? The recipe really is a combination of several recipes that sounded good to me so I guess I can call it my own, sort of. I remember beginning with a recipe from Sarah Chase’s Open House Cookbook and adding things from other recipes over the years.
Somebody, somewhere along the line, suggested keeping the fruit and granola separate as storing them together makes the granola soggy. Up until now, I have always made the granola, combined everything and served it right away. But Tracy is eating a little every morning so we are keeping the fruit and nuts in one container and the oatmeal/granola part in another. It has stayed nice and crunchy. So unless you are serving a crowd, I suggest you store it this way. Well, have fun with the recipe; make it your own by adding or subtracting things according to your taste.
4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
2 cups sweetened, shredded coconut
2 cups sliced almonds
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup honey
1 1/2 cups diced dried apricots
1 cup diced dried figs
1 cup dried cherries
1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup roasted, unsalted cashews ( we used whole cashews but you might like them halved instead)
Preheat the oven to 350°.
Toss the oats, coconut, and almonds together in large bowl. Whisk together the oil and honey in a small bowl. Pour the liquids over the oat mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until all the oats and nuts are coated.
Pour onto a 13x18-inch baking sheet. Bake, stirring occasionally with a spatula, until the mixture turns a nice, even golden brown, around 45 minutes. Remove the granola from the oven and cool, stirring occasionally to break up the bigger pieces.
In the meantime, dice your dried fruit and mix with the cashews.
If you are not going to use the entire recipe at one time, store the apricots, figs, cherries, cranberries and cashews in airtight container separately from the granola. Makes about 12 cups.